New to Canberra, I love exploring this city and the secrets that it holds with my family.
Published January 15th 2017
Update July 11th 2017
Nutrition Station, number 2 on this list, has closed down however mew locations are expected to open in the future.
Salads, smoothies, protein balls & kale
An enjoyable part of living in Canberra is the healthy lifestyle that we can lead, with plenty of opportunity for outdoor recreation and exercise. Lake Burley Griffin, Lake Tuggeranong and Lake Ginninderra are all stomping grounds, literally, for runners, cyclists and power walkers every morning as people start the day with their headphones pumping and their hearts pounding. Locals are also at the gym - sweating, puffing and generally pushing their bodies to the limit before they head off for a full day of work or study. Many will finish their exercise and be completely shattered (like myself) and completely famished (ditto!).
Thankfully there is a wide variety of places to stop and refuel the body around the city, with food outlets and cafes providing souped-up smoothies, acai bowls and protein balls to put the energy back into dehydrated and depleted bodies. The following are 6 venues to eat or drink healthily after the gym, or just when you are out and about enjoying this colourful city. These are my personal favourites (so far!), where do you go for a healthy kick start?
Quinoa, kale, feta and blueberry salad at Mountain Creek Wholefoods, Griffith
1/ Mountain Creek Wholefoods is a health food shop located at Griffith, just a short drive south of the city. Between 11am - 2pm (Monday to Saturday) the Organic Kitchen at the back of the store is open for takeaway, nutritious food. Choose between smoothies, quiches, salads, gluten free rice balls, lasagne, yoghurts, wraps and freshly squeezed juices - see the menu here. I was told about the Organic Kitchen by a friend who is gluten intolerant and she raved about the variety of options available - and she was right. For myself, who thankfully doesn't have any intolerances, I notice the difference in taste - an organic banana smoothie has a strong, real banana taste, more than other venues. The salads, in particular, are packed full of flavour, colour and vitamins. See details here.
2/ Nutrition Station is located on Lonsdale Street in Braddon, just a short walk from the CBD. This casual outlet and franchise opened in November 2016 and is an easy place to pop in for a smoothie, a few protein balls or to sit and enjoy a meal. They sell power breakfasts, protein pancakes, acai bowls, protein enriched burgers, salads and more. If you visit with kids, they have an excellent kids menu with everything less than $5.95. See their full menu here. See details here.
3/ Eighty/ Twenty Café is also located on Lonsdale street in Braddon. This popular café, which promotes eating 80% healthy and 20% for treats, is an ideal venue anytime for healthy smoothies, acai bowls and wholesome menu items. My personal favourite combination is the Glo Pro Smoothie and bowl of takeaway fruit salad (below). Although it has no carbs or protein, it is very hydrating and full of flavour before starting the day. See here for details and here for the Smoothie and Acai Bowl menu.
Glo Pro Smoothie and fruit salad from Eighty/ Twenty, Braddon
4/ Quizine is a colourful and healthy café located in the industrial suburb of Phillip, south of the city. The whole premise of this café was to supply healthy, replenishing food to those who visited the gym across the road. With professional training behind them, Quizine have put together a menu of carbs, proteins, vitamins and wholegrain goodness to help people stay on track with their health goals. Choose from salads, rolls, smoothies, juices, protein balls or order a nutritionally balanced meal off the menu. Just walking into this colourful café puts a smile on your face and inspires you to be a better you. See details here.
5/ Paleo Perfection Espresso Bar on the Kingston Foreshore may be a small outlet, but everything they sell is wholesome, organic and natural. They sell certified organic coffee and a range of gluten and dairy free snacks, made with certified organic ingredients. Ask the staff about any of the ingredients you aren't sure about, as they are always happy to explain the details. What I enjoy about this little outlet is browsing the products on their shelves for new things to try and enjoying a caveman slice, full of seeds and natural ingredients that you can see. This is an ideal venue to stop in at after a run or walk along the foreshore, no matter how sweaty. See details here.
Pot of tea, organic muffin and caveman slice at Paleo Perfection, Kingston Foreshore
6/ Freska Fruita may not be a household name around Canberra, however it is a fruit and vegetable shop at Woden Westfield that also sells juices and healthy, delicious wraps and rolls. Their wraps, in particular, are jam packed full of salads and require a mammoth effort to put your teeth around. The main feature that I like about this pre-made wrap outlet, for food on the run, is that you can just buy half a wrap for $4.50 if you just need something to fill the gap, or $8 for a full wrap. See details here.
There is a real enjoyment in tucking into a colourful Acai bowl or hearing the satisfying crunch of home-made granola, which can kick-start a whole new healthier way of life. Feel the shift in energy as your body gets what it really needs and be amazed by the options there are to stay on track. As the experts say, we eat with our eyes, so with so much beauty and colour in the attractive smoothies and healthy food options available around the Capital - staying healthy in Canberra has never looked so good.
Acai Bowl from Paleo cafe (now changed names to Tallow and Thyme), Braddon